From the day itself:
And then from the next day:
It’s been interesting watching Dylann Roof be, in himself, the very best rebuttal against all the (almost entirely white) people who were desperate for his massacre to be about anything other than what it so very obviously was: racism and racial hatred. All the scrambling and denial, from presidential candidates to news networks to Twitter commenters, all undone by Roof’s insistent, persistent desire to hurt black people. There was no rationalization that stood up to that simple hatred.
Not that there probably still aren’t people who are willing to try to pretzel themselves into arguing it’s something other than racism or racial hatred. So, you know, again, and to be clear: If you are arguing that a white man who clearly held racist beliefs, going into a place where he knew he would find black people, waiting an hour in pretend fellowship with them, announcing he was there to shoot black people, shooting them while spouting racist comments at them while they begged him to stop killing them, reloading several times, and then when arrested declaring that the reason he was killed all those innocent people was to start a race war, wasn’t motivated by racism and racial hatred,
a) you are so very laughably wrong;
b) you are being as racist as you can possibly be.
Dylann Roof is a racist. His attack was a racist attack. The denial of his racist attack being racist is racist. There were an appalling number of people being racist in the aftermath of this fundamentally racist act. And despite everything, there are people continuing to be racist about it now. I am continually amazed at how difficult it was, and is, for people to recognize that this was a racist attack, by a racist. I’m continually amazed by everyone who still has a hard time admitting that this country is still racist as hell, and especially toward black people.
All of the above is stupidly obvious. And yet some people choose to be stupid about this. This willful ignorance embarrasses me as an American. I was in the UK when all of this happened. No one over there had any doubt what it was about, as far as I could see. And when it was made clear to them that I wasn’t intentionally stupid about it either, the attitude I received the most was: Sympathy. The UK has its own social crosses to bear, to be sure. They easily enough recognized the one my country bears.
I’m very sure most of us knew immediately why Dylann Roof did what he did. It’s just that so many the people who argued so very hard against the obvious are those who want to control the levers of our politics and discourse. It’s embarrassing to me that so many very clearly intelligent people worked so mightily to pretend this killing was something it was not. It’s ironic how difficult Roof made it for them, and gratifying that this very fact exposed their mendacity for what it is: Ridiculous, risible, and racist.